Fidget Spinners May Be Fun, But They Aren’t Helpful

fidget-spinnerIn the proud tradition of pet rocks and Beanie Babies, fidget spinners have recently become the hottest fad product on the market. These tiny toys feature three prongs that whirl around a ball-bearing equipped center, creating something that looks like a little ceiling fan that spins in your hand. Some even sport multi-colored lights so you can dazzle all your jealous friends. They’re available to purchase almost everywhere and have become ubiquitous in schools across the country, much to the irritation of many educators.

“It seemed like one day there was a few, and the next day there was a few, and the next day everyone had them. They just appeared really fast,” said elementary school teacher Elizabeth Maughan. In fact, the fidget spinner situation soon grew so out of control that Maughan’s school banned them altogether. Along with angering students, this decision even drove a few parents to voice their concern. That’s because some fidget spinner makers have claimed that the rotating toys can improve the focus of people with ADHD and other disorders.

But according to experts, that claim has no evidence to support it. “I know there’s lots of similar toys, just like there’s lots of other games and products marketed toward individuals who have ADHD, and there’s basically no scientific evidence that those things work across the board,” said clinical psychologist and Duke University professor Scott Kollins. “If their description says specifically that this can help for ADHD, they’re basically making false claims because these have not been evaluated in proper research.” So while fidget spinners may be fun to fool around with, the science says that they certainly aren’t practical.


  1. Should fidget spinner manufacturers who make false claims about the product’s abilities face fines from government regulators?
  2. How do fad products like fidget spinners or Beanie Babies become popular so quickly?

Source: Wynne Davis, “Whirring, Purring Fidget Spinners Provide Entertainment, Not ADHD Help,” NPR, May 14, 2017.